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Sappi world title print awards go to owner operator companies

Thursday, 02 November 2006
By Print21

Looking good on the night, the Australian Sappi Trading contingent at the awards in Budapest: (left to right) Andrew Neal, Scott Print; Mike Webb, Penfold Buscombe; Drago Zorec, D&D Global Group; Tim Shafer, Sappi Trading Australia; Craig Dunsford, Offset Alpine; Hugh Martin, Sappi Trading Hong Kong.

Five out of nine Sappi International Printer of the Year awards went to European companies, most of whom are run by their founders. Demonstrating the ability of entrepreneurial printers to come up with award winning products, the results are a striking example of the quality that can be produced when company owners are actively involved in the process.

This was most apparent in the repeat winning entry in the printer’s own promotion category by Italian printer, Fontegrafica, run by father and son team, Giuseppe and Corrado Musmeci. Backing up for their second Sappi International Printer of the Year trophy, they produced a lunar calendar that combined so many techniques, it has to be seen to be believed. It is inconceivable that such a stand-out printed item would be commissioned and produced by a large corporate enterprise; craft on this level requires individual passion and commitment.

The Italians narrowly edged out Australia’s Drago Zorec of D&D Global Group (pictured with wife Dana) who was widely expected to be the first local printer to crack the Sappi Awards. Drago was the first to recognise and pay tribute to the Fontegrafica entry when he initially saw his rival’s work.

“This is unbelievably good. Nothing here can match it. They will win, for sure,” he said, and so it proved. It says much about the standards of the Sappi International Printer of the Year Awards that Drago’s own entry, with which he became the most awarded printer ever in the US-based Benny Awards two weeks before, could be beaten in competition.

But the narrow winning margin, described by judge Greg Grace of the LIA as “very close,” has only served to fire up the Melbourne-based Zoric to have another go at becoming the first Australian to take home the Sappi prize. He commended the Fontegrafica people for their ability to put together a team with expertise from across many disciplines. “This is what you can do when you have unlimited budget. We can do it too, I’m determined,” he said.

Largest Australian contingent ever

This year’s competition saw four Australian companies make it through to the world finals; Offset Alpine (magazines), Scott Print (packaging and labels), Penfold Buscombe (general print) and D&D Global. Tim Schafer, managing director of Sappi Trading Australia, was clearly hoping to break the drought with such a strong team, but despite the Trading Region winning one of the nine trophies (Indian printer, Pragati Offset from Hyderabad), the Australians missed out again. However the close results in a number of categories have only served to sharpen the determination to win one of the Elephant Trophies. Tim Shafer commends all printers in the region to have a go for next year. To download an entry form for 2007 Click here

The Sappi International Printer of the Year Awards go from strength to strength, drawing entries from all around the world, proving to be the only genuine world titles in printing. Hosted this year in Budapest by Sappi Limited CEO, Eugene van As, the awards provide a focus for the industry and a celebration of printing’s role in the communication mix.

Amid the glitter and the glamour of the night, van As had a serious message, warning printers that the industry had to provide reasonable returns to its paper suppliers. He claimed paper manufacturers are currently not even recouping the cost of their capital. Price rises are necessary to redress the balance, even as industry consolidation continues. He firmly stated that Sappi will remain an energetic participant during the ongoing merger and acquisition process that is rationalising the industry.

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